Ecolodges as a Community-Based Tourism Development Strategy: the case of Chaouen in Morocco
This paper consists of an empirical study investigating to what extent can ecolodges serve as community-based tourism development strategy. It is conducted in a cultural and natural tourism destination north of Morocco-Chefchaouen or shortly known as Chaouen-. A considerable amount of literature was reviewed in order to form the theoretical framework of this study consisting mainly of community-based tourism (CBT), local participation, tourism benefits, and tourism development. Fifteen (15) semi-structured interviews were conducted mainly with ecolodges’ owner/managers, civil society activists who contribute to the tourism sector, and government officials who directly represent public agencies in charge of tourism in the region. Data collection method were chosen to be semi-structured interviews for the sake of maximum data quality and more vivid interaction with interviewees (Harris & Brown, 2010). The collected data set was analysed using quantitative content analysis, following the categories of themes and concepts extracted from the theoretical framework. The main findings of the paper show that indeed ecolodges generate a considerable benefit to local community, especially, on the socioeconomic level, but on the other hand, there is a lack environmental awareness and an unclear stakeholders structure.
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